Brokaw sets departure date

New York -- Tom Brokaw's sign-off date as anchor of NBC's top-rated "Nightly News" has been set: it's Wednesday, Dec. 1.

His successor, Brian Williams, will take over as sole anchor the next day, the network announced Monday.

Brokaw, 64, began as "Nightly News" anchor on April 5, 1982, teamed with Roger Mudd. He took over as sole anchor on Sept. 2, 1983.

Instruments fetch big bucks

Dallas -- Elton John's antique piano sold for $164,500 and a guitar owned by Kurt Cobain during his early days with Nirvana was purchased for $117,500 at a Dallas auction.

The "Icons of 20th Century Music Auction" was conducted Saturday night by Heritage Galleries of Dallas in conjunction with the 27th annual Dallas Guitar Show and MusicFest 2004.

John's white, 1910-era upright piano sold to an anonymous buyer outside the United States.

"Elton John and his longtime composing collaborator, Bernie Taupin, wrote more than 100 songs on the piano, including 'Your Song' and 'Tiny Dancer,"' said Greg Rohan, president of Heritage Galleries.

The piano is autographed by John and Taupin.

Ebert toasts overlooked films

Champaign, Ill. -- A film that cost less than $200 to make is among the attractions at Roger Ebert's sixth annual Overlooked Film Festival.

This year's festival, which opens Wednesday, includes a variety of big-budget movies and independent works such as "Tarnation" by Jonathan Caouette, which cost $187 to make on a computer.

The lineup also includes Gregory Nava's "El Norte," Buster Keaton's masterpiece "The General," Jay Russell's "My Dog Skip" and the obscure Al Pacino drama "People I Know."

Ebert, film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, started the festival in 1999 to call attention to movies he thinks have been forgotten or ignored by audiences, critics and distributors.

Artists rally 'round Bono

New York -- Media companies, artists and civil rights activists joined together Monday to protest a ruling last month by the Federal Communications Commissions against the musician Bono of the group U2 for his use of an expletive on last year's Golden Globes broadcast.

CBS owner Viacom Inc. participated in the challenge, as did Fox Entertainment Group Inc., the American Civil Liberties Union, the Screen Actors Guild, comedians Penn & Teller and Margaret Cho, and others.

Last month FCC commissioners overruled their staff and declared that Bono's use of an expletive while accepting an award on television was indecent and profane. However, they did not impose a fine since they had never before said that practically any use of the expletive violated its rules.

The group said in a statement that the FCC's ruling against Bono was "chilling free speech across the broadcast landscape."


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